Mumbai: The Union Defence Ministry on Friday filed a title suit over the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Bombay High Court. The title suit claims that the land on which the society is built belongs to the Defence Ministry.
The suit came months after the Defence Ministry sent a notice to the Maharashtra government claiming ownership of the land. The claim is contrary to the that of judicial panel appointed by the Maharashtra government which said that the land was owned by the state government.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the Bombay High Court said if the Supreme Court has directed all cases pertaining to environment law to be heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), then even the controversial Adarsh Housing Society matter will automatically stand transferred. This observation was made by a division bench of Justices DD Sinha and KK Tated while hearing a plea made by the 31-storey plush society seeking transfer of its petition challenging the demolition order passed against it by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), to the NGT.
The Society has based its plea on a direction given by the Supreme Court while hearing the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy case that all cases which questions the provisions of environment law should be heard by the Green Tribunal. "If there is a direction of the apex court then it (Adarsh case) automatically stands transferred. Why should we pass an order to that effect?" Justice Sinha said.
Advocate Som Sinha, appearing for the Union government, however, told the court that the MoEF was opposing the Society's plea of transfer and that the High Court should first hear the arguments before transferring the case to NGT. Agreeing to hear the Union government on the issue, the bench said, "We will hear you (MoEF). We will not adjudicate the matter." The case will now be heard on December 18.
Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for the Society, had earlier said when it had filed the petition in February 2011 challenging the demolition order the green tribunal was not functioning. "Now two benches have been constituted and hence even this matter should be transferred to the Tribunal," he said.
The order for demolishing the housing society in posh Colaba in South Mumbai, was passed in January 2011 for alleged violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms and not obtaining permission from the Ministry before construction.
(With additional information from PTI)